To become a CPA in Illinois, you’ll need to meet all of the Illinois CPA requirements. You will also have to take the right courses, pay some fees, and get the right work experience.
Step one is passing the CPA exam. To do that, you will probably need to take a CPA exam review course.
Once you’ve passed, you will have to meet Illinois CPA license requirements before you become licensed. After all of this, you can practice accounting in the state.
The Illinois Board of Accountancy sets all of the requirements of eligibility to take the CPA exam and become a licensed accountant. This board mandates all state-specific requirements for the standard CPA exam.
There are two additional resources to find reliable information about the CPA exam requirements in Illinois. These are:
- The National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA)
- The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA)
To become a CPA in Illinois, you must meet the following types of requirements:
- Education requirements
- Age and residency requirements
You will also have to pay exam fees and follow the right channels to schedule your exam.
Illinois CPA education requirements
Typically, states range in CPA education requirements, between 120 and 150 hours.
Illinois CPA education requirements mandate that you complete a bachelor’s degree and upper-level courses that add up to 150 hours.
Keep in mind that your degree itself doesn’t necessarily have to be specifically in accounting. In Illinois, it doesn’t even need to be a business degree, necessarily.
If it isn’t an accounting degree, however, you will need sufficient course hours in accounting classes.
You could have any of the following types of degree:
- A bachelor’s degree in any major that must include 30 hours of accounting and 24 hours of business.
- A bachelor’s degree in accounting.
- A graduate degree in business, which must also include 30 hours in accounting.
Note that all of your degrees must be awarded by fully accredited institutions that are approved by the Illinois board.
Accrediting bodies that are accepted must have a membership with the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and AACSB or ACBSP.
You’ll notice that if your bachelor’s degree is in neither accounting nor business, you will need a certain number of hours in business related courses. This can include a number of different kinds of courses, including:
- Business law
- Business ethics
- Quantitative methods
- Information systems
Examples of accounting-specific courses that count toward your CPA candidacy can include:
- Financial accounting
- Management accounting
- Research and analysis of accounting theories (two hours)
A minimal number of hours (max of 3) can be added through internships or other on-the-job accounting experience.
Age and residency requirements
There are no age, citizenship or residency requirements in the state of Illinois to take the CPA exam.
It is also not required that you have a social security number to take the CPA exam or get a certificate.
However, you will have to have a social security number to get licensed.
Illinois CPA exam fees
Illinois CPA exam fees will total north of $1000. In all, there are five separate fees that you’ll need to pay to take the exam in the state of Illinois:
- Initial application fee (all four sections): $120
- One exam section – $40
- Two exam sections – $76
- Three exam sections – $108
- Four exam sections – $120
- Audit section fee: $225
- Financial section fee: $225
- Regulation section fee: $225
- Business section fee: $225
- Total fees: $1020
It is very important to know the order of events and the timeline you have to complete the CPA exam in Illinois.
If you don’t work within deadlines, it will cost you more money, so you’ll want to make sure everything is paid for on time.
Here is the process you’ll want to follow to pay for, and take, the exam:
- Make sure you meet all of the education requirements before you sign up to take the test.
- Apply to the Illinois Board of Examiners (IBOE) for credential verification and pay the fee, which could vary but will be around $200.
- Send in your final transcripts (by mail or electronically).
- Complete the Initial Examination Request and pay an application fee.
- Receive an approval (authorization to test) from the IBOE, which affirms your eligibility to take the exam.
- Receive a payment coupon from NASBA, which must be used for 90 days and which you will use to pay your exam fees online.
- Once you have paid your exam fees, you will receive a notice to schedule (NTS) and must schedule your exam within six months.
- Schedule with the exam on the Prometric website.
- Take all four sections of the CPA exam.
- Take the AICPA Ethics Exam, which is required in the state of Illinois.
Once you have completed this process, you will get an automatic certification, but you cannot be licensed until you fulfill your experience requirements.
Illinois CPA exam schedule
Once you have a Notice to Schedule (NTS), you will schedule your CPA exam. There are four parts, which were mentioned above. Each one is treated individually – it’s paid for and graded separately from the rest.
Depending on your strategy, you can also schedule each CPA exam section individually or together. You’re free to schedule your exam any time of the year with practically no limitations.
The only rule is you have to complete all four sections within 18 months of registering for the CPA exam. So long as you meet the deadline, you can retake any section until you have 75 points or more.
However, remember that each retake will cost you, so it’s better to consider your strategy rather than blindly retaking the exam and hoping you get it eventually.
Illinois CPA Exam Fees
Illinois CPA exam fees will total $863.20. There are a total of five separate fees that you’ll need to pay to take the exam in the state of Illinois:
- Initial application fee: $120.00
- Audit fee: $195.35
- Financial fee: $195.35
- Regulation fee: $176.25
- Business fee: $176.25
- Total fees: $863.20
Illinois CPA license requirements
In order to become a licensed CPA in Illinois, you must meet the accounting experience requirements.
Once you have worked for the prescribed length of time, you will submit verification to the board. If approved, you can apply for a license.
After being awarded your Illinois CPA license for the first time, you will then have to maintain it on a regular basis.
Illinois CPA experience requirements
Once you have passed the CPA exam, you will have to fulfill Illinois CPA experience requirements. In the state of Illinois, these cannot be done before you have passed the CPA exam.
It’s after you’ve already passed the exam that you’ll need to fulfill the work requirements.
Your work experience will have to include one full year of public accounting experience. During this work, you must directly report to and be verified by a CPA with an active license.
After this year, you can apply to be licensed to practice accounting in the state of Illinois.
Illinois CPA license renewal
In the state of Illinois, you must renew your CPA license every three years. This standard is enforced by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.
You can renew online, so it’s a pretty quick and easy process.
Depending on the type of license you have, you may also need to meet a certain number of continuing education hours. For a CPA individual license, this requirement is 120 hours of continuing education that includes four hours of ethics study.
Illinois CPA ethics requirement
In addition to CPA education requirements, the Illinois Board of Examiners requires you to pass the AICPA Professional Ethics Exam in order to get licensed as a CPA, which you can register for and take online. You can access study materials from the AICPA to prepare for it.
A score of 90% or higher is required to pass.
Transfer CPA license to Illinois
The Illinois state board of accountancy may endorse someone who holds a CPA license in another state. This would give them the ability to practice in the state of Illinois.
To be considered for this, you must use the online CPA application portal.
More useful links
Here are some useful resources as you learn more about how to become a CPA in Illinois.
Illinois state board of accountancy contact info:
- Sponsor review:
- General contacts:
- AICPA Illinois State & Territory CPA requirements
- NASBA Illinois Application Requirements
- Illinois licensing information
- Click here for Illinois CPA license lookup
Need help preparing to become a CPA in Illinois? We can help!
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